RING #2: STAMEN SERIES, by Vina Rust of sterling silver, twenty-two karat gold and liver of sulfur patina, 2004.

Dual Nature

pacific northwest arts


In explaining the thinking behind its exhibition Dual Nature: Contemporary Glass and Jewelry, showing through January 15, 2012, the Wing Luke Museum notes that glass art and metalsmithing have “parallel histories … which are deeply rooted in the Pacific Northwest.” Indeed though their regional timelines are not exactly in tandem—jewelrymaking was already thriving in the mid-twentieth century thanks to University of Washington’s outstanding metals program, while glass did not really take off until Pilchuck Glass School was started in the early 1970s—the museum’s general point is unequivocal. Yes, there are a great many talented and productive makers of glass art and jewelry in the Pacific Northwest. Anyone who is remotely interested in either field is well aware of this.

What brings this exhibition alive, however, is that the eight artists represented are all Asian American with ties to the Pacific Northwest. Trying to parse how their own dual natures, culturally speaking, are expressed in their work is presumably partly what curator Hilary Lee had in mind. The artists are a mixed group in terms not only of cultural backgrounds but also in age, experience and the media in which they work. Of the eight, four are primarily jewelrymakers. One other is a glass artist who sometimes makes wearable glass pieces. Three are glass artists who make sculpture, but not jewelry.



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Nubian Jewelry

Kate Mensah

Philadelphia Craft Show


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